LONDON, Sept 21 NEW YORK, Sept 21 (Reuters) -
Bavaria's King Max Joseph I decreed in 1812 that beer could be
drunk where it was brewed and food could be served there too,
giving birth to the Biergarten (Beer garden) 200 years ago. This
weekend Oktoberfest begins in Munich, so to mark the
bicentennial of the Biergarten and the start of Bavaria's most
famous festival online travel consultants Cheapflights.com
(www.cheapflights.com) have created a list of the top 10 beer
gardens around the world.
1. Hirschgarten, Munich, Germany
The historic - and family friendly - Hirschgarten is Germany's
largest biergarten, with benches seating up to 8,000 revelers
stretching almost as far as the eye can see. The shady
200-year-old chestnut trees and deer (Hirschgarten translates to
"deer garden") that roam around the game reserve next to the
beer garden add a bucolic touch to an evening's drinking. The
majestic Nymphenburg Palace is close by too. Augustiner beer is
served, directly from the cask.
2. Taxisgarten, Munich, Germany
Not quite as old as Hirschgarten, Taxisgarten biergarten has
been serving up to 1,500 guests at a time since 1924. It used to
be a sanatorium for WWI veterans and gradually opened up to the
public. Its proximity to the Taxisklinik, Bavaria's largest
maternity clinic, means that many a baby's birth has been
celebrated here! There's a small children's play area to keep
the kiddies occupied. Hofbräu is a favored brew.
3. Airbräu, Munich Airport, Germany
Now, here's a brilliant idea. A beer garden - and brewery -
at Munich Airport! The Airbräu is to be found in the central
courtyard between terminals 1 and 2. Airbräu is the world's only
airport brewery that crafts its beers in compliance with 16th
century purity laws.
If you didn't catch the aviation theme, the beers' names
will give you a clue. There's FliegerQuell, Kumulus and
Jetstream and seasonal brews that include Aviator and Mayday, a
word that recalls emergency but gets its name from May 1, when
the first barrel is tapped.
4. Estabrook Park Beer Garden, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
It's little wonder that Milwaukee is featured in our top 10.
This noted city of brewing learned the trade from the German
immigrants who settled here in the 19th century. The Old German
Beer Hall on Old World Third Street represents the spirit and
tradition of the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, which is perhaps the
most famous beer hall of all.
Just this summer, Milwaukee got a new beer garden (the
Estabrook Park Beer Garden), the county's first in a park since
Prohibition. The garden is situated in the wooded 50-acre park
that hugs the Milwaukee River. Featured beers include Hofbräu
Original Lager, Dunkel Lager and Hefe Weizen. Weather
permitting, the beer garden will be open seven days a week, noon
to 9 p.m., from Memorial Day through the end of September, then
weekends only through Nov. 24.
5. Radegast Hall & Biergarten, Brooklyn, New York, USA
German expats had a convivial home away from home in the
beer gardens of New York for many years since the 18th century.
Prohibition in the 1920s and later ill feelings toward Germans
spelled the end of many of them. But the beer garden has made a
comeback over the past few years. Undoubtedly, The Bohemian Hall
in Queens is part of New York City history. It is said to be the
last original remaining beer garden in New York, dedicated to
preserving the Czech and Slovak communities.
Our pick of the bunch is Radegast Hall & Biergarten in
Brooklyn, which with its rustic decor, hearty fare and great
brews captures the ambiance of Oktoberfest in all its giddy,
6. Yaletown Brewing Company, Vancouver, Canada
A Western Canadian twist on the beer garden, the Yaletown
Brewing Company has won many awards such as Best Brewpub in
Canada and Readers' Choice awards for Best in Vancouver. It's
located in a renovated warehouse in one of Vancouver's trendiest
districts. And the glassed-in brewery produces top-class beers.
The best thing about it might be the long, narrow seats outside
where Yaletowners and visitors pitch up to enjoy a pitcher or
7. Praça Hercílio Luz, Blumenau, Brazil
This German settlement in the state of Santa Catarina is
world famous for the crowd-pulling Oktoberfest it puts on each
year (in 2011, more than 550,000 showed up and more than 626,000
litres of beer were downed; it's on Oct. 10-28 this year) but it
honors its Germanic heritage year round.
There's no better place to soak this up than Praça Hercílio
Luz, among the beer museum, WW2 monument and beer garden. German
brews might be the most popular but Blumenau has plenty of
micro-breweries of its own. Eisenbahn is the best known and
there's Bierland and Unser Bier, too; all of them offer a taste
8. Forest Beer Garden, Tokyo, Japan
There was a beer garden at Midtown shopping complex this
summer that served only Suntory All-Free and soda, orange juice
and tea. But for a beer garden that serves something with more
than 0.000% alcohol, visit Forest Beer Garden inside Meiji
Shrine's Outer Gardens. The trees are shady, the sausages German
and the beer is Kirin Ichiban Shibori, Kirin Ichiban Shibori
Stout or Budweiser.
It's one of Tokyo's largest beer gardens, with space for
1,000. Even at that, the garden gets busy over the weekend and
booking in advance is recommended!
9. Bräustübl Tavern, Salzburg, Austria
The Bräustübl Tavern in Mülln has been brewing beer since
1621. Not only is it Austria's largest beer tavern, but the beer
garden seats 1,500 drinkers. It's self-service with the beer
drawn from wooden barrels.
Augustiner beer is, as you'd expect by now, brewed in
accordance with the 1516 Purity Law with just four ingredients:
malt, water, hops and yeast. Hearty, beer-soaking meals can be
found in the "stands corridor," an arcade filled with deli
10. Lowenbrau Keller, Sydney, Australia
There's a little bit of Bavaria at the corner of Playfair
and Argyle streets in Sydney, Australia's tourist-friendly Rocks
district. Of course, they celebrate Oktoberfest, but the
tablecloths are blue-and-white checked and the staff are rigged
out in their Dirndls and lederhosen year round.
Australia might be a long way from Germany but the beers are
brewed in accordance with the Purity Law and drinkers can sample
the Stiegl Goldbräu, Paulaner Premium Pils and Spaten München,
which has the distinction of being the first keg tapped at each
(Editing by Paul Casciato)